Vietnam – Political Culture

Vietnam Table of Contents

Vietnam’s political culture has been determined by a number of
factors of which communism is but the latest. The country’s political
tradition is one of applying borrowed ideas to indigenous conditions. In
many ways, Marxism-Leninism simply represents a new language in which to
express old but consistent cultural orientations and inclinations.
Vietnam’s political processes, therefore, incorporate as much from the
national mythology as from the pragmatic concerns engendered by current

The major influences on Vietnamese political culture were of Chinese
origin. Vietnam’s political institutions were forged by 1,000 years of
Chinese rule (111 B.C. to A.D. 939). The ancient Chinese system, based
on Confucianism, established a political center surrounded by loyal
subjects. The Confucians stressed the importance of the village,
endowing it with autonomy but clearly defining its relationship to the
center. Those who ruled did so with the “mandate of heaven.”
Although they were

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